EDITOR’S NOTE — you can read about a subsequent trip I took to Oxford, Mississippi over in this post in case you’re looking for more recommendations!
I’m excited to bring you another post recapping a stop on our road trip as I absolutely loved—Oxford, Mississippi, home of The University of Mississippi! I love a good college town, and Oxford is one of the best of the best. I would love at some point to have a connection to the school, but until then, I’ll be the biggest bandwagon fan Ole Miss has ever seen. Hotty Toddy!
As a reminder, I’m breaking up the road trip I took over Labor Day Weekend with my friend Emma into several different posts so it’s not information overload:
- Natchez by way of Jackson, Mississippi
- Oxford, Mississippi (this post!)
- Birmingham by way of Tuscaloosa, Alabama
- Atlanta, Georgia
Like Natchez, we were in Oxford for 24 hours before we headed to Alabama. In the future, I would love to take a trip just to Mississippi and stay in Natchez for two or three days, and visit Oxford for a day or two. And, of course, maybe find some other amazing places in the Magnolia State. Prior to this trip, I had never been to Mississippi before, but I left a huge fan.
One other thing I’ll note before we dive into all things Oxford is that although we went during football season—the first weekend actually!—Ole Miss had an away game. Football is a big deal at the school, and I would love to visit for a home game and tailgate at The Grove! Unsurprisingly, a home game brings a lot of traffic and fans to the campus and The Square, home of its restaurants, bars, and shops, so just something to be aware of as you’re planning your trip!
HOW TO GET THERE /
Like many college towns, there isn’t huge airport in Oxford, Mississippi. We drove from Natchez, which was about a four hour drive, but to get to Natchez, we drove two hours south from Jackson and then basically doubled-back to Jackson and drove two hours north. All that to say, one way to get to Oxford would be to fly into Jackson, Mississippi and rent a car. However, the most efficient way to get to Oxford would be to fly into Memphis, Tennessee and rent a car—it’s only about an hour and 15 minutes away, so you save nearly 45 minutes.
I can’t speak to Memphis since I didn’t fly into that airport—however, if I was just going to Oxford as a stand-alone trip, that’s the airport I would pick!—but I will say since Jackson is a smaller airport, it was on the pricier side of domestic flights. I paid close to $400 for a one-way ticket. So worth it, but just something to keep in mind as you’re planning your trip down south.
WHERE TO STAY /
We stayed at The Graduate in Oxford, and it was the perfect hotel for us! It is located literally one block off The Square, so it’s very walkable to restaurants, bars, and shops. There’s also a huge (free!) parking lot for guests right behind the hotel, so it made arriving very easy for us with our rental car.
The decor at The Graduate is so cute—every corner is seemingly more Instagrammable than the last! Our room was spacious and super comfortable—and the decor in there was just as great as the public spaces in the hotel. Right off the lobby is a coffee shop called Cabin 82 that also serves breakfast and lunch and on the top floor is a rooftop bar that overlooks The Square called The Coop—even if you aren’t staying, it’d be a super cute place to check out for the views!
We honestly didn’t even look at any other hotels and I would love to stay at The Graduate again the next time I’m in Oxford. My friend Ashlee has a great recap about the hotel on her blog here!
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK /
Let me tell you, nothing beats a college town bar! Here’s where we ate and drank while in Oxford:
City Grocery — nearly everyone we talked to about Oxford recommended this place! We went for lunch and had a great meal—the best stuffed peppers with pimento cheese and French fries with Mississippi’s famed comeback sauce. I had a salad to finish things off. The dinner menu is a little more robust, and if you go at night, I’d recommending grabbing a reservation here since this was a popular spot!
The Library — we loved The Library so much that we posted up there all afternoon and then went back at night. It was a great place to catch all the football games since it is a sportswear, and then at night, they had a really fun country music cover band. We talked to several locals, and while it’s still a college bar, they’re strict on IDs, so it also attracts a crowd.
St. Leo’s — we ate dinner at St. Leo’s, a delicious Italian spot right on The Square. I knew we were off to a great start when I walked in and saw matchbooks on the hostess stand! We started with seasonal bruschetta, which when we went had peaches on it (!), and the burrata, which was amazing! That dish might have been one of my favorite things we ate the whole trip. I had a great white pizza as my entree. The space was also really cute—and I thought the atmosphere was a cooler vibe than City Grocery.
Big Bad Breakfast — this place is popular, and since we went on a Sunday morning, there was quite a wait! We waited outside of the restaurant where there were tables with card games and chalk to pass the time. It was worth it though—I had an amazing biscuit and cobb salad with fried chicken. My dream lazy Sunday brunch!
WHAT TO DO /
The first thing we did in town was walk around The Square, which is the town’s retail hub. At the center sits the Historic Oxford Courthouse, which was built in 1872. We popped into Square Books, an amazing historic bookstore, Neilson’s Department Store, University Sporting Goods, The Lily Pad, and jcg apparel, the latter of which made the cutest Ole Miss clothing! We weren’t in the mood for ice cream, but if you are, Oxford Creamery on The Square looked delicious.
Located just a short five minute drive from the Ole Miss campus is William Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oak. Tucked away in a beautiful neighborhood in the woods, you can take a self-guided tour the house for $5 (cash only!). We did this, and I am so glad we did—it was amazing to see his books and how had written all of the phone numbers of his relatives and friends on the wall in the kitchen. We also spent time walking around the grounds of the property, which were stunning, too. (And, you don’t have to pay to tour those!)
Before leaving town, we drove through the Ole Miss campus to see the football stadium and stopped to walk around The Circle Historic District, which is the center of the University. At the top of the circle is the Lyceum, which is their iconic building that’s also on the school logo. I am so glad we took the time to drive around and see the school—it’s perfectly manicured and everyone has so much school pride!
I absolutely fell in love with Oxford—and Mississippi in general! When I got back from my trip, I told my coworkers my goal of writing these posts was to convince just one person to take a trip there. I am a sucker for the trendy US cities to visit—I mean, hello, one of my favorite places is Charleston!—but there are many more places a little more off the beaten path / Instagram feed that are just as wonderful. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any Qs about our trip: email@example.com or drop a comment below! x